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Hot Air Ballooning in Australia | The Best Locations & Tips For Beginners
Hot air ballooning is one of the most serene and exciting ways to witness the magnificent landscapes of Australia.
There’s no comparison to the feeling of floating high above the clouds, whilst tucked away inside the cosy warm basket of a hot air balloon.
From the bright lush greenery of the Yarra Valley and its wine country, to the rugged desert rock formations of the outback’s red centre, Australia offers a spectacular range of hot air ballooning experiences for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you’re wanting to try hot air ballooning for the first time or are an avid enthusiast, this article will share everything you need to know about hot air ballooning in Australia.
1) FAQ’s – Hot Air Ballooning in Australia
In this section, we’ll answer some of the common FAQ’s first timers have when considering Hot Air Ballooning in Australia.
What is Hot Air Ballooning?
Did you know? Hot Air ballooning is the oldest form of successful flight in existence. It was first invented in 1783 and has been widely practised across the world ever since.
Hot Air Ballooning was originally used as a way to measure the weather and wind currents, but nowadays it has become one of the most serene adventure activities of all time.
A great perk of hot air ballooning is that you gain access to 360-degree unparalleled views of the surrounding landscapes.
Although the baskets can occasionally get quite squishy and intimate (depending on the number of people you’re with) your view is practically obstruction-free.
That is why hot air ballooning is considered one of the most relaxing, peaceful and satisfying flying experiences at both low and high altitudes.
How Do Hot Air Balloons work?
A hot air balloon consists of a large bag, called an envelope, which is filled with heated air to create shape and provide buoyancy for flight.
Suspended beneath the envelope is a gondola or wicker basket which carries passengers and a source of heat which in most cases is an open flame caused by burning liquid propane which works as the Hot Air balloons “engine”.
The heated air fills the envelope which then makes it buoyant due to having a lower density than the colder air outside it. This allows the balloons to rise tens of thousands of feet into the air.
Hot air balloons are used in a variety of recreational and extreme sporting activities and humans have been enjoying flights in hot air balloons for nearly 240 years.
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Are Hot Air Balloons Safe?
Hot air ballooning has been recognized as one of the safest aviation sports, with fatalities in hot air balloon accidents being extremely rare.
From 2000 through to 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported only 169 hot-air balloon crashes and of these, only 1% suffered a fatality.
Over that decade, they concluded that there was only a 0.075% chance of experiencing a fatality during a hot air ballooning experience.
Although you should be cautious when doing any adventure activity, there’s no need to feel paranoid when going hot air ballooning in Australia!
Is there an age or weight limit for Hot Air Ballooning?
There are no legislated age restrictions to go hot air ballooning in Australia.
However, the 3 years old is often the minimum age for kids. In saying that, all children under the age of 12 MUST be accompanied by an adult when going hot air ballooning in Australia.
While there is no legislated weight restrictions, some centres do recommend you seek advice before you go hot air ballooning experience in Australia if you have any of the following health issues:
- Weigh more than 140kg
- Hip or knee problems
- Back or neck problems.
- Have had a recent surgery or broken a bone.
- Are unable to stand for one hour unassisted.
What Should I Wear When Hot Air Ballooning?
Depending on the season you choose to go hot air ballooning in, it can be important to prep-plan what you’re going to wear on the day.
Most hot air ballooning experiences demand that you get up early for your flight, usually before sunrise.
Mornings in Australia can be quite chilly so it can be a good idea to wear lots of layers. At least that way can take them off during the day if you get warm.
Another tip is to strive for COMFORT.
Closed-toed shoes, a warm jumper/jacket and long-legged pants (trousers) are a good starting point.
It’s also worth packing a hat or beanie to protect your head from the heat of the engine flame, especially if you’re on the taller side!
Sunglasses, sunscreen and a camera are also great additions to any hot air ballooning experience.
- Warm clothing & layers
- Closed and comfortable shoes
- A hat or Beanie
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- A GoPro or light camera
- Clothing that is revealing or constricts your movement as you will most likely be climbing in and out of the basket so avoid dresses, skirts or overly tight jeans.
- Avoid jewellery as it may become snagged or lost.
- Avoid very bulky items like a blanket as these items take up valuable space on a hot air balloon basket.
What is the Cost of Hot Air Ballooning in Australia?
On average, a 1–2-hour hot air balloon ride costs $200 – $500 per person.
Hot Air Ballooning is a slightly higher budget adventure activity. However, the price does vary based on:
- the location of the experience
- the length of the flight and
- any included additions (eg. a glass of champagne or a breakfast)
What is the Best Time to go Hot Air Ballooning in Australia?
Hot air ballooning is an amazing experience all year round, but if weather conditions are sub par, your experience may be rescheduled.
Adverse weather conditions include things like thunderstorms or high winds which make controlling a hot air balloon difficult. This is why Winter is the least preferred time to go.
The best time of the year for hot air ballooning is usually Autumn and Spring as the weather is more predictable.
The colourful trees, vineyards and wildflowers during these seasons also provide a stunning backdrop to your hot air ballooning experience.
Summer is of course another a great time to go, but it is also the peak time. Therefore, if you want to go hot air ballooning in Summer, ensure to book early to secure your preferred dates.
2) The Best Places for Hot Air Ballooning in Australia
Hot Air Ballooning in Queensland (QLD)
If travelling to Queensland, why not enjoy a hot air balloon flight over stunning Gold Coast city skylines. Alternatively, take in magnificent views of some of Australia’s most beautiful bright green hinterlands!
Queensland is filled with stunning coastal scenery which creates some of the best hot air ballooning views in the entirety of Australia.
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
- Brisbane CBD
- Gold Coast Hinterland
Hot Air Ballooning in New South Wales (NSW) & ACT
In New South Wales, you can enjoy unimaginable beauty.
Many of the hot air balloon experiences glide over Australia’s oldest wine valleys or even over the stunning blue waters of Byron Bay.
Alternatively, you can witness the impressive architecture of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) as you float above Canberra’s many parks and skyline.
- The Hunter Valley Wine Region
- Byron Bay
- Sydney and the Macarthur region
Hot Air Ballooning in Victoria (VIC)
Victoria provides a unique hot air ballooning experience. You can glide over the lush green winery regions and towering mountain ranges, or even float above the bustling city of Melbourne.
Any Hot Air Ballooning experience in Victoria is sure to impress. Personally, I have done both the wine region and city hot air ballooning experiences, and both of them were absolutely fantastic.
- Melbourne CBD
- The Yarra Valley Wine Region
- The King Valley
Hot Air Ballooning in Tasmania (TAS)
Tasmania boasts some of the most amazing scenery in Australia.
It provides panoramic views of beautiful mountain ranges, green and deep woodland valleys and never-ending coastline.
- Great Western Tiers
- Meander Valley
Hot Air Ballooning in Western Australia (WA)
Western Australia is a region of striking beauty. Its diverse landscape consists of sweeping plateaus articulated by several mountain ranges in its north and west. To the East, you get to see deserts that stretch as far as the eye can see.
You can enjoy hot air ballooning over the beautiful rural landscape of the Avon Valley or the towering skyscrapers of Perth.
There is truly no better way to view this beautiful region!
- The Avon Valley
Hot Air Ballooning in South Australia (SA)
Hot air ballooning in South Australia will provide unparalleled views of landscape dotted with vast plains, low uplands, and red clay-encrusted lake beds.
You can even go ballooning a short distance north of Adelaide to see vast stretches of vineyards in the Barossa Valley region.
- Barossa Valley Wine Region
Hot Air Ballooning in Northern Territory (NT)
Doing a hot air balloon flight in the Northern Territory will allow you to view vast savannah plains and desert outback.
Watch as the red sandstone of this region lights up with the sunrise and absorb the natural beauty of one of the most remote regions of Australia.
There are also some experiences that allow you fly over towns like Alice Springs and Uluru.
- Alice Springs
- MacDonnell Ranges
- Uluru / Ayers Rock
5) Additional Tips for Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning is an amazing adventure activity that provides one of the most serene and awe-inspiring ways to view the beautiful landscapes of Australia.
To get the most out of your experience, here are a few tips you should know before you go:
1) Flights can be cancelled
Hot air balloon experiences are completely weather dependent. Therefore, if bad weather conditions present themselves, flights are often rescheduled to another day.
Although this can be a disappointing inconvenience, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
2) The baskets can get very intimate
Depending on the number of passengers you have on your flight, the basket can get a bit cramped. This can make it hard to move around freely during the flight.
Don’t despair though…
They usually spin the balloon slowly throughout the journey, so that everyone has a chance to witness the diverse views.
3) Get a good night’s rest
The morning hours are known as the golden zone for hot air balloon flights – particularly before sun rise.
This is why it is important to have enough rest the night before, because you’re going to be getting up bright and early in the morning.
4) Prepare for landing with a strong bent-knee brace.
Hot air balloon landings can be one of the smoothest touchdowns imaginable. If done right…
If done wrong, it can be a very bumpy affair.
Either way, make sure to stow your belongings and do the correct brace positions when preparing for landing.
5) Avoid taking a bulky equipment with you
Given the intimacy of the basket, it’s best to pack a small camera or GoPro rather than a big fancy camera.
Unless your a pro photographer, taking photos on your iphone will usually suffice and can save a ton of space.
No matter where you choose to go hot air ballooning in Australia, I promise that you’ll have one hell of an adventure.